Staking taller growing herbaceous perennials.

Staking taller growing herbaceous perennials.

Perennial plants often grow much taller than the height suggested on the plant label/information as their growth rate depends on a variety of things.

  • They often grow much more lushly after a period of continuous wet weather & so that you might be required to stake/support plants that do not usually need staking
  • If they are planted in a more shady situation than they really need, or there is not much sunshine but more dull, cloudy days in summer they can grow taller trying to reach more light.
  • Differing soil conditions can also have an effect on plant growth.
  • Don’t overfeed – overfeeding plants causes taller, weaker stems & softer growth!


Why do we need to support these plants?

  • Large flower heads can be damaged more easily by rain & wind if they are not staked.
  • If plants flop & lay on top of lawns for any length of time the lawn can be damaged.
  • Large flower heads can flop because of their weight.
  • If plants flop over in the border they can often smother any plants growing next to them.


Taller growing herbaceous perennials that usually need to be staked. Giving some of the later summer flowering clump forming perennials the ‘Chelsea chop’ in May or June can shorten their growth but they might still need supporting to look  & perform at their best.

  • Delphinium
  • Heleniums
  • Helianthus
  • Iris – stake individual stems.
  • Paeonies – their large flower heads usually need support as they can flop or be damaged by wet or windy weather.
  • Lupins
  • Dahlias – larger flowering varieties are best supported
  • Rudbeckia
  • Sunflowers
  • Single headed oriental poppies.
  • Slightly shorter growing perennials eg. Penstemon, Achillea.


Ways to support taller growing plants.

  • Individual supports - It is best for perennials with larger flower heads to have each stem supported individually. This can be done easily & cheaply by using bamboo canes or straight branches or pea sticks for slightly shorter growers. For the tie you can use garden twine or recycle nylon tights, stockings, knee highs or even cotton tee shirts or stretchy clothes all cut into strips. Be aware that these man-made fibres will not decompose! Do not tie the stems too tightly as this can cause stem damage as the stem rubs against the support in windy weather. The plant needs to be able to sway. Try to tie using a figure of 8 as this stops stem rub.
  • Clump formers or plants with bushy growth can be supported in various ways. At an early stage of growth you can use circular grid supports or netting. At a later stage link stakes or semi-circular supports can be used. These can be bought for reasonable prices. More robust semi-circular supports can also be bought or custom made by a blacksmith/iron worker. Natural canes/pea sticks & twine or woven willow branches can be used for more natural supports.
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